'60 Minutes': The Kanzius Machine: A Cancer Cure? Video
'60 Minutes': The Kanzius Machine: A Cancer Cure? Video Transcript
>> What if we told you that a guy with no background in science or medicine, not even a college degree, has come up with what may be one of the most promising breakthroughs in cancer research in years. Well it's true. And if you think it sounds improbable, consider this. He did it with his wife's pie pans and hot dogs. His name is John Kansas, and he's a former businessman and radio technician, who built a radio wave machine that has cancer researchers so enthusiastic about its potential, they're pouring money and effort into testing it out. Here's the important part. If clinical trials pan out, and there's still a long way to go, the Kansas machine will zap cancer cells all through your body, without the need for drugs or surgery, and without side effects, none at all. At least that's the idea.
>> The last thing John Kansas thought he would ever do was try to cure cancer. A former radio and television executive from Pennsylvania, he came here to Florida to enjoy his retirement.
>> Well I have no business being in the cancer business. It's not something that a layman like me should be in, it should be left to doctors and research people.
>> But sometimes it takes an outsider.
>> Sometimes it just, maybe you get lucky.
>> It was the worst kind of luck that gave Kansas the idea to use radio waves to kill cancer cells.
>> Have you noticed any lymph nodes?
>> Six years ago he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia, and since then he has undergone thirty six rounds of toxic chemotherapy. But it wasn't his own condition that motivated him, it was looking into the hollow eyes of sick children on the cancer ward at M.D. Anderson in Houston.
>> I saw the smiles of youth, and saw their spiritual growth, and you could see that they were sort of asking why can't they do something for me.
>> So they started to haunt you, the children.
>> Their faces. I still remember them holding onto their teddy bears and so forth. And shortly after that I started my own chemotherapy, my third round of chemotherapy.
>> Did it really make you terribly sick?
>> Very sick, and I couldn't sleep at night. I said there's got to be a better way to treat cancer.
>> It was during one of those sleepless nights that the light bulb went off. When he was young, Kansas was one of those kids who built radios from scratch. So he knew the hidden power of radio waves. Sick from chemo, he got out of bed, went to the kitchen, and started to build a radio wave machine.
>> I was looking in the cupboard and I saw pie pans, and I said these are perfect. I can modify these.
>> I'm laughing, I mean it's unbelievable.
>> It could be a comedy.
>> His wife Maryann woke up that night to a lot of banging and clamoring.
>> I was concerned truthfully, that he had lost it, yeah.
>> She felt sorry for me.
>> I did. I mentioned to him, honey the doctors can't you know, find an answer to cancer, how can you think that you can.
>> That's what we wanted to know. So we went to his garage to find out.
>> This is it? This is the laboratory.
>> This is the laboratory.
>> Oh my gosh. Oh look.
>> This is one of his very first machines. And here's how it works. One box sends radio waves over to the other, creating enough energy to activate the gas in a fluorescent light.
>> And I can see the radio waves -
>> Turning the light on?
>> Turning the light on.
>> Then he put his hand in the field, to show us that radio waves are harmless to humans.
>> Now wait a second. You put your hand in there.
>> And nothing happened.
>> Nothing happens, no.
>> So right from the beginning, you're trying to show that radio waves could activate gas, and not harm the human, anything else.
>> Yes, exactly. That was the -
>> Cause you're looking for some kind of a treatment with no side effects. That's what you're, that's what's in your head.
>> No side effects.
>> But how could he focus the radio waves to destroy cancer cells.
>> That was the next sixty four thousand dollar question.
>> The answer would cost much more than that. He spent about two hundred thousand dollars just to have this more advanced version of his machine built.
>> First of all -
>> He knew that metal heats up when it's exposed to high powered radio waves. So what if a tumor was injected with some kind of metal, and zapped with a focused beam of radio waves. Would the metal heat up and kill the cancer cells, but leave the area around them unharmed. He did his first test with hot dogs.
>> And I'm gonna inject it with some copper sulfate.
>> And what you're trying to show that just where you, where the copper sulfate is, and nothing else will heat up.
>> Right. And I'm going to take the probe, right at the injection site -
>> To show us the temperature.
>> Kansas placed the hot dog in his radio wave machine, and we watched to see if the temperature would rise in that one area where the metal solution was, and nowhere else.
>> And when I saw it start to go up, I said eureka, I've done it. And I said God, I've got to shut this off, and see whether it's still cold down below. So I shut it off, took my probe, went down here where it wasn't injected, and the temperature dropped back down. And I said God, maybe I got something here.
>> Kansas thought he had found a way to attack cancer cells without the collateral damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Today his invention is in the laboratories of two major research centers, the University of Pittsburgh, and M.D. Anderson, where Doctor Steven Curley, a liver cancer surgeon, is testing it.
>> This technology may allow us to treat just about any kind of cancer you can imagine.
>> You mean every cancer, pancreas, leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, everything. ^M00:06:04
>> Everything. I've got to tell you, in twenty years of research, this is the most exciting thing that I've encountered.
>> That's because Kansas impressed Curley with another remarkable idea, to combine the radio waves from his device with something cutting edge. Space age nano particles, made of metal or carbon. They are so small that thousands of them can fit in a single cancer cell. Because they're metallic, Kansas was hoping his radio waves would heat them up, and kill the cancer.
>> If these nano particles work, then we truly have something huge here.
>> Enter Rick Smalley, another cancer patient at M.D. Anderson, and the man who won the Nobel Prize for discovering nano particles made from carbon. As luck would have it, Doctor Steven Curley was called in one day to examine Rick Smalley. Before leaving, he asked him for some of his nano particles.
>> I proceeded to tell him what I wanted to do, and that I thought they would heat. And he looked at me with sort of a studied long look, and didn't say anything, and then he looked at me and said it won't work.
>> It won't work?
>> It won't work. And he just laughed and said well look, I'll give you some, but don't be too disappointed.
>> So Steven Curley brought a vial of those precious nanoparticles to John Kansas.
>> There's trillions of them in there.
>> Trillions of nanoparticles in there.
>> And on an August day in 2005, Curley and Kansas put them to the test. Would the metallic nanoparticles heat up enough to kill cancer.
>> So we take the nanoparticles, we put them in the radio field, and in about fifteen seconds they're boiling and heating, and Steve Curley couldn't contain himself. He called Rick Smalley, he said Rick, you're not gonna believe this. We just blew the smithereens out of your nanoparticles. Now am I allowed to say on camera what the response was?
>> Go ahead.
>> Okay. Well this is my favorite ever quote by a Nobel Prize winner. The only thing that I got out of him after this pause was holy - [ beep ]
>> Not long after that day, Rick Smalley died of lymphoma. Once a skeptic, he had become one of Kansas' biggest supporters.
>> He didn't expect it, but he embraced it, till his deathbed. And he told Doctor Curley, this will change medicine forever. Don't stop, no matter what you do.
>> And they haven't stopped. They've already shown that the Kansas machine can heat nanoparticles and cook cancer to death in animals, doctor Curley with rabbits, and in Pittsburgh Doctor David Geller demonstrated to us how he used nanoparticles made from gold to kill liver cancer cells grown in rats.
>> Oh is that it?
>> This is the cancer here. Now what we're going to do is inject the nanoparticles.
>> Directly into the tumor.
>> Directly into the tumor.
>> In the study, the rats, anesthetized to keep them still, were exposed to the Kansas radio waves. Doctor Geller later examined their tumors under a microscope.
>> What you can see is their cells are starting to fall apart. You see white spaces in between them, the body of the cell is shrinking, the cells are starting to die.
>> And can you tell from this whether the area surrounding the tumor had any destruction?
>> Grossly inspecting the animal, we did not see any damage to the surrounding tissues.
>> So far, the Kansas method has only been applied to solid, localized tumors. The ultimate goal is to treat cancer that has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body. Those undetectable rogue cells are what most often kill people with cancer. And the trick is finding them.
>> If we can't target the microscopic cells, this is not gonna be a cure.
>> That's why Doctor Curley is trying to use special molecules that are programmed to target cancer cells, and attach nanoparticles to them.
>> This is an example of microscopic blood vessels with the -
>> He showed us an animation of how he hopes the targeting will work in people one day, with a simple injection of gold nanoparticles into the blood stream.
>> So what we're seeing here is an example of a gold nanoparticle, in this case with an antibody on it. So the antibody would be the targeting molecule.
>> You can see it is tiny compared to a normal red blood cell. Just imagine all of these you know, billions of gold nanoparticles circulating through the body, and then once they get into the blood vessels going to the tumor, these nanoparticles would go through and bind on the surface of the cell.
>> The cancer cell.
>> The cancer cell.
>> Only -
>> It wouldn't bind on a normal cell.
>> That's right, they would bind only the cancer cell. Now here's the nanoparticles in the cell, here comes John's radio frequency treatment. The cells get hot, and they're destroyed.
>> Gosh, it does look like one of those science fiction movies.
>> Right. Well, right now, right now it is a little science fiction. We're not quite to the real time yet, but it's got a lot of promise.
>> Even if all goes well in the lab, it'll be at least another four years before human trials can start. But John Kansas says he's afraid he doesn't have that much time. So to help speed up the research, he's been raising millions of dollars, and getting press coverage about his invention.
>> Now I can't count the number of times the journalistic community has done stories on a cancer cure. I did one in 1973.
>> How many times have we seen these things work in the petri dish, work with animals, and then you get them into humans and they don't work?
>> But if this one does work, it most likely won't be developed in time to help the man who invented it. John Kansas may have the option of a bone marrow transplant that could buy him more time. But after six years of chemo, it would be another grueling ordeal.
>> Did you ever say I'm not gonna do this any more? I'm just, I'm not gonna put myself through it.
>> Yes. I said that only about a year and a half ago.
>> So you said it, and -
>> - changed your mind.
>> I changed my mind because I think I, with all the research that's going on with the institutions that maybe I'd like to be around for the first patient to get treated, and just have a smile.
>> Oh my God.
>> And then I don't care any more.
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